Anytime Removal of Chromatic Aberrations


Today’s Question: I somehow neglected to turn on the option to remove chromatic aberrations from some of my raw captures. Is there a way to apply that correction in Photoshop without having to go back and process the raw capture again in Camera Raw?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can remove chromatic aberrations within Photoshop at any time by using the Camera Raw filter. Just note that with the Camera Raw filter you’ll need to use the manual adjustments for chromatic aberration correction, rather than the automatic option available in Camera Raw when you are processing a raw capture.

More Detail: The Camera Raw filter in Photoshop provides you with most of the adjustments that would otherwise be available in Camera Raw when processing a raw capture. That includes the ability to apply chromatic aberration correction later in your workflow if you neglected to do so when processing the original capture.

I recommend applying the Camera Raw filter relatively early in your workflow to avoid confusion related to various image layers, such as when you are using additional layers for image cleanup work. I also recommend creating a copy of the Background image layer for the Camera Raw filter. So, start by dragging the thumbnail for the Background image layer on the Layers panel to the “Create a New Layer” button (the icon with a plus inside a square) at the bottom of the Layers panel.

With the Background Copy layer active on the Layers panel, you can then go to the menu and choose Filter > Camera Raw Filter to bring up the Camera Raw dialog. For chromatic aberration correction go to the Optics section on the right panel in the Camera Raw dialog and expand the Defringe section if it is collapsed.

You can then increase the value for the Purple Amount and/or Green Amount sliders to reduce the appearance of color fringing for those colors. As needed you can use the Purple Hue and Green Hue controls to increase or decrease the range of colors being affected.

These controls are the same as the manual adjustment for chromatic aberration that is found in Camera Raw when processing a raw capture. The checkbox to automatically remove chromatic aberrations is not available when using Camera Raw as a filter, but in general I find that fine-tuning is necessary with the Defringe controls anyway, so this isn’t too big an issue.

There are, of course, a variety of adjustments you may find helpful within Camera Raw as a filter. For example, I often use the Camera Raw filter to access the Guided Edit mode in the Geometry section in order to quickly and easily straighten out an image, such as is often needed with architectural photos.